Some five decades ago, D.C. public high school students kept rifles in their lockers for school-sanctioned competitive shooting. The fact that this seems absurd today is a sign of how people have changed. The guns have always been with us, but America seems to be producing a lot more silently violent people now — think of Kip Kinkel, Dylan Klebold, Eric Harris, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, and the boy in Oklahoma who was arrested Friday, accused of plotting a copycat crime.
A disturbing number from their generation — many of whom have never harmed anyone — seem to have emerged from childhood lacking in basic social skills, control of emotions, respect for authority, or any sense of clear boundaries about how to treat other people. Maybe it's too simple to blame bad parenting, family breakdown, the decline of religious faith and the robust social structure that churches create, or the increasingly amoral depiction of violence in popular films and on television. But they may all play a role.
By all means, debate guns, but the conversation cannot stop there. It needs to hit closer to home, about the responsibility of parents, teachers and Hollywood to respect the values that America once took for granted.
— The Washington Examiner